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All Shook Up (Avon Romance)by Susan Andersen
Synopses & Reviews
The gas gauge on J.D. Carver's vintage Ford Mustang read "Empty" when he arrived in Star Lake, Washington, one day ahead of schedule. But then, it never read anything else — the needle had been stuck there since he'd bought the car in '93. The car's trunk held a few of his favorite power tools, a tool chest, and a My loaded carpenter's belt. The backseat held two table saws. He also had an antique gold watch in his pocket, an old canvas army duffel containing everything else he owned in the world, and a raft of emotions he'd give a lot to deny sitting heavy in his gut.
His life back in Seattle had gone to hell. It was his own fault, but knowing that didn't help. His friend Butch he didn't even want to think about right now. And Bob Lankovich, the man who'd given him his start in construction-and through whose company's ranks J.D. had risen to become foreman — was in prison. J.D. didn't want to think about Bob, either. Or his idiot son, Robbie.
He was just tired of the whole freaking mess — the threats, the being a pariah. In Rat City, for chrissake. How could anyone do anything bad enough to be a pariah in a neighborhood known as Rat City? His unexpected inheritance from Edwina Lawrence was nothing if not timely. It was an excellent time to get out of town.
He laughed without humor. Of course, Edwina was just another can of worms. He ought to open a damn bait shop — between her, Butch, and the Lankovich mess, he was ass-deep in worms.
J.D. rubbed at the tension knotting the back of his neck. He was pretty much down to his last option. He'd given up his studio apartment, sold the tools he couldn't fit in the car, and cleaned out his bank account. There wasnothing left for him in the city where he'd grown up, and nowhere to go if this didn't work out. So he planned to make it work, come hell or high water.
He pulled up in front of the fieldstone-and-timber lodge that he now had a half interest in, and parked the car. Then he simply sat there for a moment, breathing in the rich scent of evergreens and lake. Reaching into the watch pocket of his jeans, he stroked. a finger over Edwina's father's gold timepiece, which she had left him along with her share of the lodge.
The same watch she'd once accused him of stealing.
More than Robbie Lankovich's threats or J.D.'s disillusionment over Butch's collecting on a debt he'd always known would one day be collected, Edwina's ancient betrayal still had the ability to bother him.
He snorted softly. "Bother." There was a nice, understated way of putting it.
It still had the power to twist his gut into a mass of knots, and that wouldn't do. Climbing out of the car, J.D. shouldered his duffel and stared up at the imposing shingle-roofed fieldstone porch that ran across the entire front of the inn.
It was bad enough that he still allowed a childhood injustice to color his life after all these years. But right now, he particularly needed to focus his concentration.
Because five would get you ten that he was about two minutes away from a no-holds-barred dog fight with Edwina's relatives over the share of this lodge that she'd bequeathed him.
Dru thanked the front-desk clerk and hung up the phone. Oh, God, he was here. She straightened in her chair, aware of her heart rate bumping up a notch. J.D. Carver was out in the lobby. He wasn't supposed to be here until tomorrow.
She'd believed shewas fully reconciled to the new situation. She'd honestly thought she was prepared to meet Edwina's beneficiary and welcome him into both the business and the Lawrence clan. But if the sudden, apprehensive tripping of her pulse was anything to go by, she'd merely been fooling herself.
Standing, she checked to see that her sleeveless white polo shirt with its discreet lodge logo was neatly tacked into her walking shorts, then smoothed her hands over the crisp hunter-green material that skimmed her hips. She took a deep breath and blew it out. Okay, she was ready. She just wished he hadn't arrived early; it destroyed their plan to greet him as a family.
Dru squared her shoulders. Big deal; she'd just have to tough it out on her own. She'd been meeting and greeting people professionally since she was sixteen years old. Besides, Aunt Soph and Uncle Ben were just over at the cabin they'd reserved for Carver's use, putting. on a few finishing touches to make him feel at home, so she'd have backup shortly. Not that she'd need it. She headed for the lobby. "Just think of him as a long-lost cousin."
Easier said than done, Dru decided a few moments later as she looked at the man squatting in front of the massive fieldstone fireplace. Even from the back, he didn't look like her idea of a cousin.
He appeared to be one supercharged mass of muscularity — from. the spot where his dark hair brushed the tanned skin of his neck, right down to his workboot-clad feet. A pristine white T-shirt stretched across wide shoulders and clung to the narrowing wedge of his back until it disappeared into a worn pair of jeans that hugged his muscular thighs and butt. Her heartbeat inexplicably picked up
Shecleared her throat. "Mr. Carver?"
He twisted to look at her over his shoulder. His dark eyebrows met over his nose, and for just a moment he seemed to still. But it must have been her...
When an unexpected inheritance brings J.D. Carver to Star Lake Lodge, the sexy, street-wise man expects trouble. But though he thinks the warmly welcoming Lawrence clan must be working some sort of angle, a tiny part of him longs for their home-and-hearth life — and the rest of him desires beautiful, former bad-girl and clearly off-limits Dru.
A Man With a Past
When an unexpected inheritance sends J.D. Carver to the Star Lake Lodge to claim his half, he's expecting trouble. Being greeted with open arms by the whole Lawrence gang—feisty Aunt Sophie and calm Uncle Ben, clearly off-limits Dru and her young son, Tate—just convinces him they're working an angle, and he's determined to uncover it. But a tiny part of him longs for the home-and-hearth life they have.
A Woman With a Reputation
Dru's finally beaten her bad-girl reputation, and though the Lodge may not be exciting, she's fiercely protective of her quiet home. Hard-eyed J.D.'s ability to push all her buttons just proves how wrong he is for her. So why does her son hero-worship the guy? And why does her heart clench when he gets that "nose pressed against the candy shop window" look on his face?
About the Author
Susan Andersen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of thirty years, and she's the proud mama of a grown son.
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